The View From Opoutere


Kia Ora Opoutere friends,

This year’s fund-raising effort is – tea towels!  Useful and beautiful, this set of three large tea towels celebrates the birds, sea life and insects of Opoutere.  

Printed on hard-wearing natural cotton, you can use and fling into the washing machine.  (Unless you decide they are so lovely that you want to hang them on the wall.) Ideal Christmas presents; easy to send overseas – and available now!


Cost:  $20 for a single, or $50 for a set of three.   

Postage and packing: $4.50 for a set.  $3.50 for a single.   

All proceeds go to ORRA conservation work.


Order via email at  Remember to include your address and if you’d like a single, let me know which one.   Bank account is: 03 0123 0253040 000 


Over Labour Weekend, I’ll also have supplies you can pick up in person.  Please call or message first. Mobile: (027) 248 3877. Landline: (07) 865 6799.


Pick up address: 355 Opoutere Road –  (cnr Opoutere Road and Ngahere Tce, where the phone box used to be).   


Be in quick – I think they will be popular.


Nga mihi,

Rachel Lang


Community Tree Planting


Help Jo Adams plant 1500 indigenous trees

  • Jo Adams has been involved in a restorative project along the Wharekawa River on his property  with the assistance of the WRC.
  • Now is the time for the next stage of the restoration project on his property. Planting 1500 indigenous trees.
  • How brilliant that we can be part of this project!
  • Come and see the bank restoration that has already been done. Move the project to the next stage.
  • We need volunteers! Glad to give a little time to someone who commits so much time and effort to our community.


Saturday  29th June 10 a.m

Saturday 6th July 10 a.m.

If you can be there the first Saturday or the following Saturday just send a msg to 0272554508 or


Please take a moment to read the notice below, there has been some concern over recent incidents involving dogs on the Wharekawa wildlife reserve, on the sand spit at the mouth of the estuary.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 9.09.25 PM

Defibrillator Training In Opoutere


Opoutere Now Has A Defribillator

A Community Invitation to all

Proposed Defibrillator Training June 2nd 2019

Current situation

Opoutere now has a cardiac defibrillator installed at Elizabeth Savage’s section, 301 Opoutere Rd. It is housed an easily recognisable rectangular red metal box (approx. 30 x 50 x 12cm in size) that has a white heart on the front.

Thanks to Neil Graham for organising the defibrillator, supported by ORRA, to the Onemana Fire Brigade lead by Jo Adams, Chief Fire Officer who generously donated the box to house the defibrillator and to Liz Savage for allowing her property to be the recognised accessible site for the device.

Next Steps

Jo Adams (FENZ,) is very keen to get a wider group of locals trained as soon as possible in how to use the Defibrillator and in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), through a St Johns accredited trainer. While we do have a number of people with the needed skills currently, we need to extend the number to guarantee better coverage of our community if people are away/ busy.

Defibrillator and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) Training by Felix from St Johns is proposed:

Date: Sunday June 2, 2019

Time: 10.00 a.m.- 12 .00 noon

Place: Tawa Tawa Lodge, 82 Opoutere Road

Cost Koha- Gold coin donation for St Johns

Jo Adams needs to know asap if this training opportunity has sufficient support to run this weekend. Also numbers may need to be limited depending on the response.

Names and numbers need to be confirmed with me by Friday 31st at 12 noon


*Visit the NZ Heart Foundation for more information on what a heart attack looks like.*

Thank you

Easter Update



Join the gang in the Spit Forest to help clear kahili ginger. Thousands of square meters of this vigorous weed have been cleared over the last couple of years – come and see the difference that has been made while helping us to clean up the little seedlings and odd patches that we have yet to clear.

When? Easter Saturday 9-11am

Where? Logan’s track – off Madeleine’s track. Look for the cones on the main beach track from the carpark and turn right.  Walk Madeleine’s track until you see another safety cone turn left – that is Logan’s track. Walk 200 meters along that track and you will find us. (Call Chris if you are confused, ph 021 418 119.)

Bring: closed shoes, garden gloves, sunhat, water and bug spray. 





The word is out – 2019 is going to be a “megamast’ year. Forest & Bird explain this very well:

“In a ‘mast’ year, trees experience extremely heavy flowering, fruiting and seeding. Historically this would trigger an abundance of food for native wildlife to make up for lean years. But now mast events boost rodent numbers, and in turn stoat numbers. When the seed or fruit is gone, the plague of predators turn to our native birds, bats, lizards and insects.  Depending on your forest type, the real crunch moment is when the fruit rots or the seed germinates, and suddenly a plethora of rats are very hungry!

This year has been labelled a ‘megamast’ because both beech and podocarp forests are masting at the same time across most of the country.  It also follows a heavy fruiting of broadleaf species, which has fuelled a summer abundance of birds, but also of rats.”

What can we do? 

  • We keep trapping and baiting, but we check our traplines more frequently.
  • We will install some extra traps around the perimeter of our village where the forestry area meets the native bush – this is where we will see a lot of predator traffic.
  • We are going to rely on EVERYONE getting involved in backyard trapping. Predator Free NZ has a great page with a super-easy guide to get you started.
  • Clear out weeds and rubbish in your garden – don’t give the little devils easy nesting places.
  • Visit Goodnature to source automatically resetting possum and rat traps, Predator Free NZ to buy Doc200 box traps and for bait stations, traps and bait.
  • Donate to ORRA – please consider a financial contribution to our pest control programme. Our volunteers are out on the traplines every week, personally buying eggs for the traps and doing the hard yards scraping dead things out of traps. Here are our bank details and membership forms, we would be very grateful for your financial help if you are not able to help out physically.




Here is a summary of the season as provided by Glenda Betts:

Ohui 7 NZD fledged, Wharekawa sandpit and mid-beach 9 NZD fledged = total 16 NZD fledged

NB: Fledgling time depends on how much food the chicks get. More disturbance = slower growth rate of chicks. 28 days for egg to hatch + 28-30 days for chick to fledge

The final 4 chicks hatched late-January and early-february – took 6 & 7 weeks to fledge.



Thanks to Chips Jones for replacing rotten wood, repairing the bridge’s sub-structure and finishing the job with a brand new coat of yellow paint. The causeway is looking wonderful after some epic working bees and now the little bridge itself has been given the VIP treatment. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this project.

bridge pic

The little bridge – resplendent in sunshine yellow paint – it complements the fantastic repairs being done to the causeway.


Thanks to Jo Adams and the team at the Onemana Rural Fire Force for keeping an eye on Opoutere during the recent dry months. It has been fantastic to see the big, yellow unimog patrolling the area and keeping us all safe.

Jo has a message for Opoutere: Even though the summer fire ban period has ended the surrounding forests are still very dry and a fire risk. Please take care and don’t hesitate to call 111 if you have any concerns about a fire in the open.




Summer In Review

As autumn marches across the landscape it’s a good time to reflect on summer’s happenings.


We have enjoyed fantastic conditions for losing ourselves in the natural world of Opoutere , with record high temperatures and long, settled weather patterns. By February the water tankers were plying their trade in the village as domestic reserves ran low, mercifully late-March has seen welcome rain filling the tanks and reviving the soil.



Thanks to everyone who:

  • came along to the AGM and contributed to the community conversation
  • paid their ORRA subscriptions (It’s not too late! Go to this page for bank details.)
  • attended working bees
  • participated in the regatta and prize giving bbq on the Michael King Reserve (top work Shan, Gavin, Rachel and Simon)
  • signed up for Dotterel Watch (especially Gordon Ikin who organised the roster)
  • donated to our forestry consultant fund
  • controlled plant and animal pests on their land
  • kept an eye on boat traffic in the harbour during the busy holiday period
  • did their bit, said their piece and kept Opoutere beautiful.

Budding eco-champion Lorena with a DOC200 trap, peanut butter lure and a chunk of rabbit for good luck!


ORRA would also like to publicly acknowledge:

  • the Waikato Regional Council’s Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund. Money received has been used to buy cutting tools, pesticide and safety equipment for working bees.
  • Eureka Enterprises, who have supported our ginger removal efforts by generously discounting our favourite hand tool – the Niwashi Garden Shark.
    Working bee with Garden Sharks

    Some of our hard-working volunteers (including George the dog) brandishing Garden Sharks. Recent victims of the Garden Sharks can be seen in the background.



ORRA’s predator control work, spearheaded by Chris Woudenberg, has contributed to a very successful breeding season for the banded rail population. They are often seen dashing across the road as if in a blind panic (insouciance is not their style) and are notoriously shy. You may hear their distinctive call in the wetlands and around the estuarine shoreline. The Wharekawa Catchment Care Group (in conjunction with Waikato Regional Council) has been busy setting up traplines in the Kapakapa wetlands area, which will further protect the banded rail community in that part of the village.

Over the summer months a family with chicks were frequently spotted in the mangroves by the beach carpark footbridge, one was captured in the photo below.

Val's banded rail

Banded rail at Waponga Reserve footbridge. Photo by Val Herbert


Spot the banded rail! From WRC’s Facebook page.


Hats off to Glenda Betts who took on the job of DOC’s Dotterel Ranger for Opoutere this season.  Glenda has worked tirelessly alongside DOC Ranger Frouk Miller to tally up eggs, chicks and fledglings and protect nesting sites. While protecting dotterel nests on the Wharekawa Spit one day they experienced abusive behaviour from some members of the public and ORRA would like to acknowledge the important job they did and express our sadness that this sort of event happened while people were protecting an endangered species.

A summary of the dotterel breeding season will be published in the Easter update on these pages.



While the sun shone during the busy holiday period much work was done by volunteers at well-attended working bees.

Weed Removal in the Beach Reserve Forest

During late-December and early-January teams of people worked to remove kahili ginger in the beach forest. The difference is amazing.

However, while the native understory is thriving in the newly liberated terrain, dormant ginger seeds are still rising like tiny, green zombies out of the soil!  Thankfully, the forest provides a lovely work environment so the prospect of regular ginger sessions is surprisingly appealing.  There are always interesting people to chat with as you crawl about in the undergrowth pulling out ginger. An added bonus is that the emerging carpet of native plant seedlings is a magical sight to see.

Keep an eye on the bus shelter for working bee notices.



Thanks to Chris Woudenberg for his determination in tackling plant pests (not just ginger but also barberry, ink weed, privet, cotoneaster, pampas…the list goes on) – he has methodically mapped the areas needing work, organised the materials required, and rallied the troops.


Bruce’s Bay Causeway Repairs

At the ORRA AGM in January concerns were raised about the deterioration of the little stone walkway that crosses Bruce’s Bay. This causeway provides safe passage for pedestrians who would otherwise be navigating a very tight corner on a busy road with little to no footpath. It was originally constructed (under a veil of anonymity and largely solo) by Bruce Collier, a resident whose name attaches to this little cove due to his herculean efforts to transform it into a pleasant corner of the village. Bruce now resides at the Booms Care Home in Thames.

ORRA committee members Stuart Farmer and Keryn Kliskey teamed up with Peter Le Heron and organised working bees to lay new foundations for the bridge, reinforce the causeway and repair the wooden rails on the bridge. Rocks and builders’ mix were donated, Peter provided a concrete mixer, many barrows of heavy cement and rocks were hauled about, morning teas were provided by Angela Peters and everyone went home tired and perfumed by the mud of Bruce’s Bay!

Thanks to all the strong arms, legs and backs that tackled this tough job and to Angela Peters for the wonderful photos and refreshments.


Enjoy the lovely autumn days, the next update will be at Easter.






Summer Happenings

The pohutukawa are in flower, the dotterel chicks are hatching and our village is about to fill up with bach visitors and campers!


Here are a few important dates for your diary:


The Opoutere Regatta  –  Saturday December 29 2pm

Opoutere’s annual regatta – with swimming and kayak races for young and old.

Start time is 2pm and there will be prize giving and a bbq across the road in the Michael King Reserve. (Bring $$ for the bbq!)

Everyone is welcome.


Opoutere Ratepayers & Residents Association AGM  –  Wednesday January 2nd 9.30am

Come along to see what the association has been working on this year and make sure that your subs are up to date so you can vote (an agenda will be posted on the bus shelter)! You can also join the association if you are not already a member.

The meeting will be held in the Opoutere School hall.


Dotterel Watch  –  low tides between Xmas and early NY 2019

Please sign up for a shift on the Wharekawa Spit at low tide to help protect the dotterel’s access to food at low tide. See the bus shelter for the roster.


Summer Holiday Working Bees 

Ginger Clean-up (no loud machines) December 22 9-11am: We are taking care of little ginger seedlings that have sprung up since our last major working bee in the forest. Walk through the forest towards the yellow bench beach entrance, look for the orange cones and follow that forest trail for a couple of hundred meters  – you can’t miss us.

PROVISIONAL DATES: Thursday December 27 + Monday December 31st



Death To Ginger! A fun working bee.



WHAT: Ginger cutting and pasting

WHEN: Saturday 14 July 2018

9am – 11am

Another one of our lovely working bees, this one is perfect for the whole family as it’s smack-bang in the middle of the school holidays. 

WHERE: Walk out towards the beach from the bridge, turn right at the cones, walk under the fallen pine along the outer beach track, heading south until you see some more cones. then turn right and follow the rope. There you will find us.

BRING: Garden tools for cutting, safety gear (gloves, glasses, ear muffs if you have them, sturdy boots).

WHY? Kahili ginger is an invasive pest plant that smothers young plants and prevents native seedlings from growing. It poses a significant threat to native ecosystems. 

Got ginger on your land? Please support all the hard work done by our community working bees by removing it. Check out As landowners we are all responsible for the removal of ginger from our sections,click here to find out more from Waikato Regional Council.



What a great community we have.

Thanks for turning up to working bees, signing up to the Dotterel Watch roster, paying your subs, picking up rubbish, digging out ginger in your garden, putting a rat trap on your section, attending the world-famous regatta, attending the AGM, giving lost tourists directions, keeping an eye on the fire risk…and just being a terrific bunch of people.

This is what makes Opoutere OPOUTERE.

Please accept your association’s appreciation for your help and involvement over the summer.

(See you at a working bee over the autumn and winter months, we may put on a bbq to tempt you away from your fireside chair!)


Anniversary Weekend Working Bee


Join us at 8.30am Sunday morning of Anniversary Weekend in the spit forest for a fun and easy working bee to clear a huge, well-established ginger patch. Ginger grows very fast and prevents native plants from getting established, it’s very satisfying to see how much of the forest opens up to the light following each working bee. This weekend we hope you’ll join us on the beach afterwards for a snack and a swim.

From our ecology team leader Chris Woudenberg:

“Yes we have another Ginger working be this coming Sunday, Please find attached a map of the spit showing the Ginger the 6000 m2 that  has already been cleared  and the patch still to do.   The yellow pin is where we will be working on Sunday.

As before, walk from the Bridge to the beach, just before you get to the beach turn right at the ORRA safety cone, past the DOC Track closed sign and the orange fencing, under the fallen pine and about 400 meters further along you will see some more safety cones, turn right and follow the yellow rope, it’s not far in, about 50 meters.

This is very fun and satisfying play, as well as you will meet some of your fellow Opoutere people that you may not know.  Children are most welcome to help and the ones that have come so far have really enjoyed it , pulling those baby plants,  pasting or filling those rubbish bags up. 

After the completion of the working bee there will be morning tea supplied out on the beach if the weather is good.

If the weather is not suitable for a working be there will be a “no working bee” sign placed on the bus stop in the village , it will go ahead with light rain but very heavy rain and strong wind it will not, so if it doesn’t look good check out the bus stop, a sign will be out by 8 am. As well as posted on the ORRA Facebook page.

Please wear shoes and gloves and if you have a sharp knife that would be handy, but I will be using the ORRA ginger destroyer to cut most of the ginger.

Any questions let me know otherwise see you on Sunday 


Chris 021 418119″Ginger Map